HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court directed the Superintendent of Government Maternity Hospital, Koti, to terminate the pregnancy of a minor girl, either medically or through surgical procedure within a period of 48 hours after taking due precautions.
The order was issued on Tuesday. Justice B Vijayasen Reddy directed that the procedure has to be performed by the seniormost gynaecologist of the hospital. Also, tissue and blood samples of the foetus must be collected for conducting DNA and other tests, he directed.
A 16-year-old girl had filed a petition in High Court, through her mother, seeking a direction to terminate her pregnancy medically, as per the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 and as amended in 2021.
The minor girl's petition stated that a member of her extended family had sexually exploited her. She was threatened and emotionally abused with dire consequences. She therefore did reveal the situation to anyone in her family.
Subsequently, when she was unwell, she was taken for a medical check-up where she was found to be pregnant. When her parents enquired, the girl told them that the accused had threatened to kill her mother.
The court opined that the life of the foetus cannot be ranked higher than the life of the petitioner.
Dignity, self-respect and healthy living are facets of right to life and personal liberty enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which also include the right of a woman to make a choice of pregnancy and terminate pregnancy, subject to reasonable restrictions under law.
When contacted, Dr K Rajya Lakshmi, Superintendent of Koti Maternity Hospital, said that as it was a matter in the court involving a minor, she had no comments to make.